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The Nigerian Army and the Need for Caution

No gainsaying that the Nigerian Army is facing its toughest battles. Funnily, the army is facing two tough battles, one for Nigeria and the other from Nigerians or, at least from those Nigerians with difficulties to understand the intricacies and complexities of the security architecture of an average nation, a disability that will no doubt deny them a fair understanding of a more complex security situation like Nigeria.

Relentless attacks on the Nigerian Army by cyber-experts sure, should call for concern among Nigerians more than it should for waning attacks by Boko Haram and local bandits in some places in the North which the Army is fully in control of and leaving no one in doubt about it.

I was worried after reading baseless allegations of corruption and illogical “cover-ups” supposedly being perpetrated by the Army on matters that are purely in-house and mostly classified or even restricted military affairs.

I’m less worried about the recklessness of adding unnecessary pressure on the Nigerian Army than I’m worried about the possible overall effect of instigating the public against the Army which, by the way, I’m convinced is the calculated objective of the sustained insidious campaign of calumny against the Nigerian Army.

To say the least, it’s repulsive the way highly sensitive military affairs are reduced to subjects of speculation and flippant debates on pages of social media.

To say all security agencies in Nigeria are under the enormous pressure to stabilise the country and reduce to barest minimum cases of insurgency, banditry and sundry anti-social behaviours is to say the obvious.

Just as much, to say we are collectively responsible for the success of the Army and other security agencies in containing the situation is another sacrosanct truth that we can only deny at our own peril.

One is then left wondering, what’s the motives and benefits of the sustained campaigns on the social media that could only dampen the spirits of the gallant officers putting their lives on the line to fight this war for Nigeria.

It’s quite appalling that where we are quick to condemn minor operational hitches by the Army, we are hardly there to report the sacrifices of the gallant officers for the nation. The other day I read a post accusing the Army of cover-ups on deaths of its personnels.

It’s quite absurd to accuse the Army of secretly burying its death without observing the necessary protocols guiding such unfortunate events.

From my understanding, it’s mostly a little communication gap that some people latch on to, to condemn the military and ignore its contributions.

Logically, one would like to know what the Army stands to gain with covering up the death of a gallant officer who has already pledged his life to the country.

For all the sympathy I had for the said complainant, Daniel B. Dashe, who believed the Army was not straight with his family on the tragic death of his brother, Lt. L B Dashe, the fellow left more room than needed to question the credibility of his allegation.

In one shot he claimed the Army was covering up and later he recanted and said “For over 3 weeks the army did not call my family”, a statement indicative of the Army calling but after 3 weeks.

Assuming Dashe is appropriately qualified to receive such informs, still it remain to be explained how delayed communication of the sad event equals “cover up”.

I’m sure there must be a logical explanation about the delayed communication somewhere in the files of the Nigerian Army which will prove the recklessness of instigating Nigerians against the Army to the red level of advising families of officers serving the country to be worried.

In any case, how many officers do we have fighting the insurgency in the North East that an isolated case of Daniel G. Dashe could be used as a yardstick to assess the concern, competence and adherence to operational codes of the Nigerian Army to arrive at the funny conclusion that the Chief of Army Staff need to be sacked by the President?

The position and role of a COAS (in or out of crisis) is not a petty position that could be determined by baseless speculations on the pages of social media.

We should appreciate that ancient and modern warfares were, and still remain, sensitive subjects guided by strict rules and codes of operation which should be left to the experts and professionals with the requisite understanding of the inherent complexities to deal with.

If we are doing it for Nigeria, we should learn to put Nigeria over and above our sentiments. There’s need for us to abandon our roadside estimations about affairs of the military and give the Army enough room to function optimally.

Of course, it’s quite clear that some people are jittery about the resounding success(es) achieved by Lt-Gen. T. Y. Buratai by rescuing Nigeria from the brink of destruction back to normalcy.

If one may ask, was it not the same Gen. Buratai that rescued the N’East and parts of the N’West and N’Central from Boko Haram when it was at its ferocious worst?

Was he not the same Gen. Buratai that restored the confidence of Christians and Muslims, that they could now attend churches and mosques without fear of being blown to pieces?

Sure, we couldn’t have forgotten so soon what Maiduguri, Kano, Kaduna and Abuja used to be just 3 years ago. Boko Haram brought its war to the doorsteps of former President Jonathan; freely conducting business in the 3 arms zone, the most restricted zone in Nigeria.

Thanks to Gen. Buratai, today all this is history. People are so safe they could even fantasise and publish their unworkable thoughts as contributions to a general effort to make Nigeria better.

I don’t have problem with people experimenting with their fantasies but, I expect a little respect and consideration for the people laying down their lives as their contributions for a better Nigeria.

We should have the decency to crucify them with verifiable facts not with mere hearsay, influenced and driven by deep seated pathological hatred for anything worthy of commendation achieved by the Buhari Administration which, undisputably must include the enviable stewardship of COAS Buratai!

The Army couldn’t be in a better hand than it is in the hands of COAS Buratai. No one is yet to question his professional integrity since when decorating them as Service Chiefs in July 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari stressed the point that the sole factor that influenced their choice as Service Chiefs was nothing else but their track records of service to the nation, which the President confessed to have scrutinized again and again and found unblemished!

One cannot take it off Lt-Gen. Buratai that he is an insurgency war hero recognised and awarded numerous laurels of commendation across the globe! The recent malevolent attacks against his person goes beyond the mere saying that a worthy king is never celebrated by the people of his Kingdom!

The recent attacks smirked of a well orchestrated, strategically timed and biased campaign of calumny apparently sponsored by some dark forces and enemies of our nation, who have become highly vexed, jittery and apprehensive of the sustained war against corruption and the unstoppable weeding of bad eggs from the system. It’s therefore, funny that some people could easily discard this testimony in pursuit of their hatred or envy.”

Dammallam is a public affairs commentator wrote from Abuja.

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